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Brazil

A Weekend in Rio

In Search of the Penguins - Rio de Janeiro

semi-overcast 35 °C
View In Search of the Penguins on kmmk17's travel map.


After a brief day and night in Brasilia, I boarded my flight onwards to one of the cities I was most excited about - Rio de Janeiro. Whilst Brasilia was a warm 25C, Rio added 10C to that. Just like January eh?

Flying over Rio

Flying over Rio

Getting from the airport into the city was a nightmare. As with Brasilia, hardly anyone spoke English, and the bus to the metro stop had nowhere to buy a travel card - just the ability to top one up. Trying to explain this to the guard, he just let me onto the bus without a ticket, where I then had a panicky 45 minutes trying to work out how I would get out of this without a fine at the other end.

Luckily finding that the ticket barrier was only for entry, I managed to escape and get across the walkway to the metro station where I managed to actually buy myself a metro card. Another 45 minutes and I was finally in central Rio checking into my hotel and settling in to a weekend in the city.

This evening I was being joined by my good friend Marina, whom I met and spent just two months with on my Erasmus in Germany. Marina was only spending one full day with me in Rio but it would still be a great time for us to catch up, 4½ years after our study abroad experience came to an end.

Evening Catch Up at Copacabana

Evening Catch Up at Copacabana

Upon her arrival we made our way over to Copacabana for an evening stroll along the promenade, buying some tat before enjoying Caipirinhas and Manjubinha at one of the restaurants on the beachside.

The following morning we had a busy day and so got up for a hearty breakfast before heading towards Christ the Redeemer, which as advised online had been prebooked. However despite the sunshine, upon arrival at the station we were told there was 0% visibility at the top. Telling us we could exchange our ticket for a later time we decided to come back later and explore other parts of the city first.

The city from Sugarloaf

The city from Sugarloaf

Heading to the next place on our list - Sugarloaf Mountain, we got on the cable cars quickly and headed up for views over the city, both the beautiful (Copacabana) and not so (Favellas).

Favellas (from a distance)

Favellas (from a distance)

Already in the 30s at just 10am we explored the top of the world famous mountain, before heading back down and into the city itself. Driving past the seating areas for the carnival that would be appearing a few weeks later, we arrived at the Santa Teresa Tram which had reopened around 18 months previously after a deadly derailment in 2011.

Carioca Aqueduct

Carioca Aqueduct

With new safety rails, the tram took a limited route into the Santa Teresa area across the Carioca Aqueduct that symbolises the Lapa area.

Escadaria Selarón

Escadaria Selarón

Walking down past the aqueduct, we made our way to the tiled Escadaria Selarón before making our way back to the Corcovado station to finally see Christ the Redeemer.

At Christ the Redeemer

At Christ the Redeemer

At the top were wonderful views of the surrounding areas, including Sugarloaf and the bay itself as well as the lagoon, Copacabana and the Maracanã stadium.

Over Rio

Over Rio

Spending lots of time taking photos and avoiding the other tourists doing the same, we made our way back down past the Lagoon to the Ipanema Beach, where we would walk to Pedra do Arpoador for views over the islands in the sea outside Rio.

Copacbana

Copacbana

We then continued to walk towards Copacabana itself where after changing, we got into the sea for a paddle. The sea was lovely and warm, although relatively rough and unfortunately full of litter. With each wave covering us come the wipe of the eyes from the sea water and the plastic.

Nevertheless it was still an enjoyable afternoon in the warm sea. And having enjoyed the beautiful surrounding views, we went off for a meal in a Brazilian restaurant before heading back to the hotel to chill.

After a rest we then headed back out to finish off our weekend together with some drinks back at Lapa.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Sugarloaf Mountain

Having had a busy few days and having seen the best sights of Rio, the following morning was much more chilled. Avoiding the Favella Tour promoted by the hotel, I went for a gentle stroll towards Flamengo Beach, with the Guanabara Bay in front of Sugarloaf, before heading into the city, past Lapa, to the cathedral.

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral

The cathedral was designed to evoke a modern take on the Mayan Pyramids, but actually looks more like a giant concrete cheese grater. However inside, the huge stained glass windows transform what is an ugly exterior into a beautiful interior.

Municipal Theater

Municipal Theater

I then walked back via the city centre past the National Bank and Municipal Theatre before arriving at the hotel to relax and get ready for the onward adventure and the more January-like weather waiting for me at the bottom of the continent.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Brazil Tagged hills beach city erasmus penguinhunt Comments (0)

The Concrete Capital

In Search of the Penguins - Brasilia

overcast 27 °C
View In Search of the Penguins on kmmk17's travel map.


Well over 18 months ago I booked myself the trip of a lifetime to the Antarctic. However in order to get there I would need to get to the bottom of South America - the other continent I had yet to visit. And so after much planning I decided it would be a massive shame to literally fly in, past some cities I really wanted to visit, and thus I planned to go via Brazil en route.

After taking an overnight flight from London, and transferring in São Paulo, I arrived in my first destination on a warm Thursday morning, excited to explore the Brazilian capital of Brasilia.

Brasilia was built from nothing in the final four years of the 50's to replace Rio as the Brazilian capital. And as with many new cities of the same era, it was heavily planned, with sectors and grand avenues. The city is shaped like an aeroplane with all the governmental buildings located around the fuselage.

Arriving at my hotel in the Hotel Sector, right off the main boulevard I quickly grabbed my bits and headed off for a walk before the imminent rainfall expected this afternoon drenched me.

As Brasilia was built for the car it's scale is huge and there is a distinct lack of pedestrian access - crossing Eixo Monumental meant literally running across the 7 lane highway in a gap through the traffic.

Entering the Cathedral

Entering the Cathedral

Beginning by heading past the Central Terminal I made my way past the National Library and Museum to the Cathedral - a concrete and stained glass building that is entered from below, whilst a pool of water surrounds the building at ground level. Whilst interesting from the outside, it is inside that the building is truly beautiful, with angel sculptures floating above the pews.

Inside the Cathedral

Inside the Cathedral


National Congress

National Congress

Continuing down Eixo Monumental, I made my way to the Esplanada dos Ministérios for views over the National Congress, with it's iconic bowl, and built into the ground.

Three Powers Plaza

Three Powers Plaza

Behind the Congress is the Plaza of Three Powers, where the highest branches of government - the Congress, Supreme Court and Presidential Palace are located. Unfortunately like most of the city, the concrete is in a state of disrepair and makes the whole area look shabby, despite the best intentions and interesting architectural designs.

Supreme Court

Supreme Court


Palace of Justice

Palace of Justice

Having already walked two miles from the hotel to this end, it was now time to walk back, past the Palace of Justice and National Theatre, to the TV Tower, where free views looking over the whole city can be found.

Brasilia

Brasilia

At this height, the scale of the city's planned layout can be seen, as well as the JK Bridge over the Paranoá Lake in the distance.

JK Bridge

JK Bridge

After a lot of walking and having luckily dodged the heavy rain, I grabbed dinner and settled in for the night, before my onward flight to Rio the following day.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Brazil Tagged lake cathedral capital parliament penguinhunt Comments (0)

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